Thursday 20 November 2008

Roger Bland thanks archaeologists

Yesterday I discussed the effusive gratitude of the head of British archaeology's largest public outreach programme addressed to artefact hunters and collectors for their contribution to influencing UK heritage policy. A similar message has just appeared on Britarch (posted by Mike Heyworth on behalf of Roger Bland). It reads:

Statement on PAS: The outcome of the Review of the Portable Antiquities Scheme commissioned by MLA was announced today. [...] I would like to conclude by offering my thanks to those on Britarch who gave their support when the Scheme was in difficulties a year ago.

Roger Bland is registered on at least one metal detecting forum, where he has chatted with them about gold coins they have found. It's a shame that as the head of "archaeology's largest public outreach" he could not bring himself to actually register with one of the most active British archaeological forums and share the breaking news personally, rather than it reaching them second-hand a day late. It is also notable that the message differs greatly in tone at the end. This is how he concluded the one on the UKDN Forum, sent twenty-four hours ago:

All of us in PAS are tremendously grateful for the wonderful support UK Detector Net gave us when we were threatened with funding cuts and our future looked uncertain. I think you can see that the whole situation is now transformed thanks in large part to the support you gave us earlier this year.

I find this rather symbolic of a PAS that seems to be moving further and further away from being archaeological outreach to a service provider and legitimiser for artefact hunting and collecting.

It is worth noting that in these messages sent out after the review, the Head of the Scheme expresses his satisfaction with the outcome of the review and thereby by implication his acceptance of the Recommendations.

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